Comedy

Yavuz Turgul – Muhsin Bey AKA Mr. Muhsin (1987)

Muhsin Bey is frequently quoted as being a turning point in Turkish cinema. With some notable exceptions, much of Turkey’s movie production up to Muhsin Bey consisted of cheap tear-jerkers, juvenile comedy and remakes of popular foreign movies. While many of these movies still have appeal for Turkish audiences today, it is mainly for nostalgic reasons. Muhsin Bey, in contrast, is an original movie with both comedic and dramatic elements, dealing with social change in a way that is both universal and specific to Turkey. Read More »

Wes Anderson – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou (Murray) rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife (Huston), a journalist (Blanchett), and a man who may or may not be his son (Wilson). Read More »

Robert Altman – A Perfect Couple (1979)

Ebert’s plot description:
“A sometime rock singer and a middle-aged Greek-American businessman who meet through a videotape computer dating service…
The movie’s mostly about the perfect couple of the title, a matching of Second City veteran Paul Dooley and Broadway actress Marta Heflin. He’s part of a genuinely bizarre family presided over by a ruthless Greek father who requires compulsory attendance at such family rituals as concerts and dinners. She plays a somewhat forlorn member of a music group, ‘Keepin’ em Off the Streets,’ which is part rock band, part extended communal family.” Read More »

Krzysztof Zanussi – Serce na dloni aka And A Warm Heart (2008)

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AMG: In this moral fable from Poland, Konstanty (Bohdan Stupka) is a wealthy and amoral man who has made his fortune running a chain of supermarkets and has both the bank account and the lack of conscience to do anything he wants. One of Konstanty’s many employees is Stefan (Marek Kudelko), a kind and generous young man who runs a cash register at one of his markets. Stefan loses his job when a manager discovers he’s been undercharging groceries for senior citizens who can’t afford them; adding insult to injury, a few hours later Stefan loses both his girlfriend (Marta Zmuda-Trzebiatowska) and his flat. Falling into a deep depression, Stefan tries to kill himself, and is taken to the emergency room around the same time Konstanty is admitted to the hospital following a sudden heart attack. When Konstanty’s assistant Angelo (Szymon Bobrowski) learns that one of his boss’s former underlings is also receiving treatment and is expected to survive, he passes the news along to Konstanty, and they hatch a scheme to offer the principled young man a small fortune in exchange for his healthy heart if and when it’s needed. Serce na dloni (aka And A Warm Heart) was an official selection at the 2008 Rome Film Festival. Read More »

Richard Quine – Bell Book and Candle (1958)


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A Witch in Love; ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ at Fine Arts, Odeon

THE magic in “Bell, Book and Candle,” which opened at the Fine Arts and Odeon Theatres on Christmas, is not so much black as chromatic. It’s the color that’s bewitching in this film.

Actually, its story of a young lady who possesses some supernatural power, which she uses to inveigle a gentleman into falling in love with her, is neither as novel nor engaging as you might expect it to be. Pretty young ladies in movies are bewitching gaga fellows all the time with enticements and devices that are magic, so fas as the audience can tell. So the gimmick of John van Druten’s stage play, which has been used as the basis for this film — the gimmick of a woman endowed with witchcraft—is really rather silly and banal. Read More »

Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You (2018)



In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Kvinnors väntan AKA Waiting Women (1952)



While at a summerhouse, awaiting their husbands’ return, a group of sisters-in-law recount stories from their respective marriages. Rakel (Anita Björk) tells of receiving a visit from a former lover (Jarl Kulle); Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson) of agreeing to marry a painter (Birger Malmsten) only after having his child; and Karin (Eva Dahlbeck) of being stuck with her husband (Gunnar Björnstrand) in an elevator, where they talk intimately for the first time in years. Making dexterous use of flashbacks, the engaging Waiting Women is a veritable seedbed of Bergman themes, ranging from aspiring young love to the fear of loneliness, with the finale a masterpiece of chamber comedy. Read More »